As we sit smack in the middle of outdoor patio season, let’s pause to take a moment to think about our dogs. We love sitting on the patio with our friends, meeting new people and socializing for a few few hours (we especially love coming to the Save-a-Bull brew tour events!) But how does your dog feel about that? While we promote dog-friendly events, and encourage you to bring your dog, if he enjoys such things, please take a moment to consider if he actually wants to be there.
The following is an excerpt from an article by Jill Kessler; it’s an oldie but a goodie. The author talks about her disdain for dog parks and why. We see many similar correlations in overcrowded, loud, fun-for-us patios. Be sure your dog loves this chaos as much as you do, as controlled experiences are key training opportunities for your dog.
I am not a Dog Park advocate.
October 8, 2015 | Jill Kessler Miller
…let’s look at [dog parks, patios] from a dog’s point of view. Dogs thrive on stable relationships. Notice I did not say “pack!” They set up and like to maintain relationships with things that they know: their people, our human friends, their dog friends, their housemates, etc. Unless there are the exact same dogs every time they go to the dog park (which is nearly impossible), they have to re-establish their relationships with not only the dogs they already know in context of the new dog present, but they also have to establish a relationship with that specific new dog.
Some dogs can handle the stress of this–but most cannot. Thus you’ll get what appears to be random fighting, random aggression towards a dog they know, random odd behaviors (“gee, never done that before”), seemingly sudden guarding behaviors (territory, owner, another dog) etc. It’s not random or unpredictable–it’s the stress you, as an owner, causes by going to the dog park! Dog parks require skills that most dogs do not possess, nor would they according to how we have bred them for hundreds of years.
Lastly, I’m very wary of the “unknown” factors. Unknown dogs, unknown owners, unknown relationships and interactions, unknown damages. I don’t like surprises, and dog parks hold way too many unknown factors for dogs’ safety.
One of my main reasons for not being a dog park advocate is what I can’t control my dog’s experience and/or other people’s dogs (and I think it goes without saying, the dog owners). Because dogs are learning all the time, I must control as much of their experiences as possible, so that they build a solid foundation of behaviors that are appropriate and desirable, such as impulse control, bite inhabitation, and exchanging rewarding, affiliative, positive social interactions.
All mammals remember frightening encounters over non-eventful or even fun encounters. It’s a primal survival brain mechanism, designed to keep us alive. Dozens of positive encounters can be overridden by one bad one; thus I must make sure my dog has only positive experiences for several years, until they are mature and have a solid foundation before I expose them to a possibly unsure environment.
If your dog gets bullied, attacked, frightened or even just overwhelmed at the dog park, he will bring that experience and the subsequent conclusions he made with him everywhere. The reactions can vary from “I’m scared and must get away as quickly as possible at all costs” to “If I come on strong and attack first, maybe I’ll be okay,” to just about anything in between.
Also keep in mind that fighting and bullying in dogs is a learned behavior just as much as anything else, and therefore once your dog does it a few times, it’s now learned and bound to be repeated over and over again. And make no mistake–many dogs enjoy being a jerk! Your best bet is to not let it start in the first place, whether it’s your dog being the bully or being the target.
Of course I recommend dog-to-dog play! If your dog has a few friends that he or she really enjoys, please go for it! Set up play dates, meet somewhere where they can safely run, sprint, wrassle, and jump about. Since dogs generally play in pairs, try for either just the two, or in even numbers, you’ll find it works out better. Some dogs only want or need a few friends (just like people), and some are social butterflies, and can make friends wherever they go. Pay attention to who your dog is, not who you want them to be. Stay within your dog’s comfort zone, and you’ll have a happier, safer dog.
Source: www.jillkessler.com, Photo by Jeremy Wiens
This Christmas holiday, a senior high school student made a wonderful gift to Save-a-Bull Rescue. Shattuck-St. Mary’s senior Aubrey Stafford conducted her senior leadership project in support of Save-a-Bull by raising awareness and funds to support the rescue.
In addition to raising funds, Aubrey wanted people to learn that often misunderstood, stereotyped, and targeted for dog fighting, pit bulls are prevalent in local shelters due to irresponsible breeding and ownership. Aubrey, who grew up with a rescue dog and has an interest in becoming a veterinarian someday, believes that pit bulls are particularly misunderstood. “Pit bulls are not an aggressive breed, they are gentle giants,” Stafford said.
As part of this awareness project, Aubrey created a slideshow and presented it to her school, hosted a donations table during lunch periods for a week, and hung posters around the school to help advertise. Her efforts paid off big time as she raised $840.96 for the dogs in rescue.
We can’t thank Aubrey enough for taking it upon herself to go the extra mile for dogs in need. Her attitude and awareness is incredible and shows what kind of positive impact just one person can make. We’re honored and proud of the work she is doing and know the future holds big things for this bright, young star!
Now that all the dust has settled from our Give to the Max Day whirlwind, we’d like to take one more opportunity to thank each and every person who took the time to donate to our Fix Your Pit campaign. We believe the services we’re funding at these clinics will make an impact in the number of unwanted, neglected and abused pit bulls in our community and we’re thrilled you feel the same way.
Here are some numbers and stats that illustrate the results from our 2016 Give to the Max Day fundraising and how awesome you really are. We thank you again and again, for making our goal a reality!
Supporters made donations in the name of or in memory of those they care about the most. The messages that came with the donations are as valuable as the dollars themselves. We are beyond touched that the work we do means as much to you as it does to us!
When we decided to launch the Fix Your Pit spay/neuter clinics, we partnered with Kindest Cut – a low-cost veterinary provider that now operates as part of the AHS in Golden Valley. Obviously we are passionate about these clinics so when we were asked to assist on the days of our clinics, volunteers jumped at the opportunity to help!
A group of nine volunteers showed up to help at each of our four clinics. They took on a variety of jobs like greeting clients and helping them fill out registration paperwork. As they checked dogs into the clinic, they weighted each one and escorted them to their kennels to await surgery. Many clients did not have a regular experience with a veterinary office and were a bit nervous about leaving their beloved dogs, so a big part of the process was helping reassure them that their dogs would be fine and that they were doing the best thing for the dogs they love!
“I loved talking to the owners while they brought their dogs in. Most of them just wanted to know they were going to be okay.”
CAROL, Save-a-Bull Volunteer
“These owners genuinely cared about their dogs – there were lots of hugs and kisses before we took their dog into the back!”
MACKENZIE, Save-a-Bull Volunteer
While the staff prepped dogs and performed the spay and neuter surgeries, volunteers assisted with cleaning surgical equipment, laundry, making ID tags for the dogs who got vaccines and anything else the surgical team needed. As dogs came out of surgery, volunteers used hot bean bags and blankets to keep their body temperatures up. And when they started to wake up, the dogs got lots of cuddling and reassurance to get on their feet and walk off the anesthesia.
“The staff at the clinic really stood out to me. They knew the name and other details of every dog. They really cared about the dogs and would tell us who was shy, cuddly, etc. It made me feel good about the work they do.”
JESS, Save-a-Bull Volunteer
“My favorite part was helping the pups wake up. I also enjoyed watching the surgical process. It was very interesting.”
CASSIE, Save-a-Bull Volunteer
Once the surgeries were complete, and the dogs were awake and alert, their owners began to come back for them. Each owner got a full recap of the pre-surgical exam and complete post-op care instructions. They were happy to see their dogs and the dogs were certainly happy to see them too!
“Clients were so nervous at first but really grateful once they realized the experience was a smooth one.”
LORELEI, Save-a-Bull Volunteer
Animal Humane Society’s Kindest Cut program is a full service veterinary office that offers low-cost spay and neuter surgeries, wellness services, and dental care to cats, dogs and rabbits belonging to families with limited means. When we partner with them, we cover the full cost of spay/neuter, vaccines and microchips for pit bull owners who sign up for our select clinic dates. It is our hope that we also bring awareness that low-cost veterinary options are available, so everyone has the resources to care for their pets.
“For families who are financially limited, ensuring their animals can be spayed and neutered is invaluable.”
Jeanette, Save-a-Bull Volunteer
Each of our four clinics this year was completely booked. In total we spayed or neutered 81 dogs and helped set their owners up with a positive experience and information about proper veterinary care for their pets. It was extremely gratifying to meet and talk to the people in our community and to offer this assistance to those who really want the best for their pets and care about making a difference in not only the lives of their own pets, but for the breed in general.
“The more people in these communities who we can educate the more they can hopefully educate others.
BETH, Save-a-Bull Volunteer
“I’d love to see us be able to do MORE clinics!”
HOLLY, Save-a-Bull Volunteer
Because the clinics were so overwhelmingly well received, we knew we had to find a way to host more clinics next year, so we’ve put the wheels in motion and have six clinics already scheduled for 2017:
February 11, April 8, June 10, August 12, October 14 and December 9. Watch for these dates to be added to our schedule and for booking of appointments to open up a month or two before each date!
Of course our goal on Give to the Max Day is to raise the money needed to cover all these clinics now. Please help us with a donation today – thank you!
Thanks to you, Save-a-Bull has had the opportunity to rescue and rehome a lot of deserving dogs this year. But that’s not enough! Supporting spay and neuter assistance programs for our community will promote responsible dog ownership and breed advocacy which is an important part of the work we’re trying to do every day. Donate today and be a part of our Fix Your Pit program!
In the category of “Not as Easy as it Sounds” you can add put your dog in a photo booth to the list.
At Sociable Cider Werks, a recent stop on our 2016 Summer Brewery Tour, we were fortunate to have had FotoGenic stop by with a photo booth. It was all set to take cute pictures of guests and their dogs and we were really excited!
Well, clearly getting your dog to pose for and appreciate the photo opp was harder than it sounded. But it did make for a few hilarious out takes, take a look:
We could just say “lesson learned” and move on, but it’s very likely that we’ll try the photo booth again at another event soon. In the mean time, make it a point to check out an upcoming brewery tour event and bring your dog for a little fun and games. Our next stop is this coming Thursday at Sisyphus Brewing. Proceeds from each event benefit Save-a-Bull so it’s a fun way to hang out, socialize and support rescue!
Thank you FotoGenic for the super-easy entertainment! If you’re looking for a photo booth to add some fun to your next event, we highly recommend them!
Nothing gets us Minnesotans out of the house faster than a taste of the early spring season. After months of hiding inside we’re dying to get outside, stretch our legs and enjoy some fresh air – and our dogs are too! Almost 200 people did just that and came to the Butcher and the Boar on Sunday, March 13 for our first ever Cabin Fever Reliever fundraising event.
Outside on the covered patio rescue supporters enjoyed food and drink and music and brought their dogs along for the fun. People and pups socialized while they browsed the silent auction and raffle table and met our adoptable dogs.
Butcher and the Boar was kind enough to not only open their doors to us on a Sunday afternoon but to donate 100% of sausage sales to benefit the rescue – we can’t thank them enough! We also send our thanks to the dozens of local businesses for the generous silent auction and raffle donations that made this an incredibly fun and successful event:
|The Beauty Room
||Solitaire Dogs-an alternative dog daycare
||Amore Uptown Italian Restaurant
|Solitaire Dogs, an alternative dog daycare
||Kyatchi Japanese Restaurant
|Lucky Dog Pet Lodge
||Hola Arepas Restaurant
|Lagunitas Brewing company
|Integrity Dental Care
||Bryant Lake Bowl
|St. Paul Saints
||Tintos Cocina + Cantina Resturaunt
|Vet Partners Pet Hospital
||Witch Hat Candles
And of course it just can’t happen without the help and support of our amazing volunteers who worked hard before and during the event to make sure everyone had a great time!
While a lot of money was raised for rescue, the true highlight of the day was the connection made between Butcher and the Boar event coordinator, Courtney, and our own adoptable dog, Tyson. Sparks flew the moment they met and Courtney knew he had to become apart of her family. She adopted him this week. Congratulations!
Courtney, her fiance Scott, and their English Bulldog Ox welcome Tyson to their family!